40 Migrants Suffocate Crossing the Mediterranean
At least forty people suffocated in an overcrowded boat carrying around 400 migrants while crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe on Saturday.
Many of the migrants were saved as the boat issued a distress call and was intercepted off the Libyan coast. The rescue operation, which is conducted by the Italian navy, is still ongoing and most of the passengers have been saved.
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said that about 320 people have been rescued, the BBC reports.
Suffocation is the cause of the deaths of the migrants, who were located in a confined space below the deck of the boat.
Europe continues to be affected by an unprecedented influx of refugees, with 250 000 migrants having crossed into the continent by boat this year alone. The Italian navy coordinated the rescue of 1700 migrants on Tuesday alone.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that more than 2000 migrants have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.
The latest incident comes just after European Commissioner on Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos noted on Friday that the world is facing the “worst refugee crisis since the Second World War”.